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Comelec junks all bids to join plea vs Marcos COC

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Comelec junks all bids to join plea vs Marcos COC
Former Sen. Bongbong Marcos shows his certificate of candidacy for president in the 2022 elections.
The STAR / Russell Palma

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections has dismissed all petitions-in-intervention filed by three different parties in the first plea filed urging the cancellation of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s certificate of candidacy (COC).

The Comelec’s Second Division did not admit and treated as “mere scraps of paper” the Petitions-in-Intervention filed by ten tax professionals, represented by lawyer Howard Calleja, and by two other parties, from Partido Federal ng Pilipinas and another from three PFP  officials.

“Further, no future motions for intervention and/or petitions-in-intervention relative to the instant case shall be entertained by this Commission,” the division held in a 14-page order promulgated on Monday

.As it is, the only petition to cancel Marcos’ COC was first filed by six civic leaders through their lawyer Theodore Te.

The plea cited the Quezon City Regional Trial Court’s 1995 conviction of Marcos for failure to file income tax returns for four years.

Petitioners asserted that Marcos made a misrepresentation in his COC because he is ineligible to run since his conviction allegedly carries the penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding any public office, to vote and to participate in any election.

2nd plea vs Marcos’ COC

The petition from tax professionals, led by Rommel Bautista, also cited the same trial court conviction and prayed for the revocation of Marcos’ COC.

But the Commission held that allowing the Bautista intervention “shall unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties in this case. If the instant Motion for Intervention is granted, this will necessarily result to unduly delaying the resolution of the main Petition.”

Allowing the intervention would also encourage other would-be litigants, which would result in further delay in the resolution of the case. “This should not be permitted to happen,” it said.

The Comelec is looking to finalize the list of candidates for national posts in December.“

On another note, the Commission is of the opinion that the Bautista Motion is a crafty attempt to circumvent the reglementary period for filing a petition under Sec. 78 of the Omnibus Election Code,” it added.

Under this provision, a petition to deny due course to or cancel a COC may be filed 25 days from the filing of the certificate, while the Bautista petition was submitted 33 days after Marcos filed his COC.

Marcos’ belated answer?

For the petitions filed by PFP and its three officers, the Comelec division said it viewed these as an “attempt to file a belated Answer in behalf of respondent [Marcos].”

It pointed out that the PFP petitions raised “matters or defenses which were not advanced by respondent [Marcos]” in his Answer filed November 19. The pleading filed through martial law era-Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza was reportedly composed of merely five pages.

Admitting the PFP petitions would give Marcos an undue advantage, the Comelec said.

The PFP officials, in their intervention, told the Comelec that Marcos paid the fine plus interest and surcharge amounting to P67,137,27 on Dec. 27, 2001.

Petitioners against Marcos, through their lawyers led by Te, however, secured a certification from the Quezon City court stating that it has no record on file of Marcos’ compliance of payment or satisfaction of the RTC or Court of Appeals.

The Comelec, meanwhile, also stressed the petition attacks the eligibility of the candidate and no one else other than Marcos may possibly respond to allegations against him.

Aside from the petition to cancel his COC — which is expected to be elevated to the Supreme Court upon resolution by the Comelec — Marcos is also facing several suits seeking his disqualification.

Marcos and his campaign team played down the petitions and branded these as “nuisance cases” and “pathetic stunts.”

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